Enchanted China (June 16th to June 28th)

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by Traveling Tinkerbell, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. Traveling Tinkerbell

    Traveling Tinkerbell Mouseketeer

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    Our Enchanted China trip has finally started. We began our journey on Friday the 13th from Atlanta to Los Angeles to Guangzhou, China. We arrived in Guangzhou at 5 a.m. Sunday. We will join our Disney guides and the rest of our group in Beijing tomorrow evening. In the twelve hours we have been here we have learned that you need to make sure that you get plenty of small change before venturing out. We have run into very few english speaking locals. The weather has been hot and humid as predicted. The taxi rides have been relatively inexpensive. We walked to some of the major highlights in the city of Guangzhou today. We will post more later as our trip takes off.
     
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  3. LocustPoint

    LocustPoint Mouseketeer

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    Enjoy your trip. Thanks for posting.
     
  4. redzinner

    redzinner Me Wants the Medianoche!

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    How exciting! I see that you lost Saturday June 14 somewhere flying over the Pacific. Hopefully you'll get it back on you way home ;)
     
  5. Aubs-Travel

    Aubs-Travel Disney Obsessed!

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    Thank you for posting, I will check back to see how the rest of your trip goes! Enjoy!
     
  6. Traveling Tinkerbell

    Traveling Tinkerbell Mouseketeer

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    Hello ABD Bloggers!
    We arrived in Beijing around 9 a.m. yesterday. The flight was nice but our original flight was canceled without any notice. Be prepared for flight changes in China at the last minute. Luckily Disney received notice that we had been switched to an earlier flight.

    When we arrived in Beijing, we were met by one of our guides, Daisy. Once we got to the hotel, The Peninsula, we were met by our other guide, Dusty. Both of our guides are very wonderful and we have already fallen in love with them. They are a joy to be around!

    Our hotel sits on top of a designer mall with many great restaurants (one of which we eat breakfast at this morning). We had a couple of hours to settle in before meeting other adventurers in the lobby. We all met at 6 p.m. and enjoyed a meet & greet. Then at 7 p.m. we walked across the street for a traditional Chinese dinner. There was a tea ceremony and an opportunity to dress up as royal emperors. There was even a gong! It made us feel that we were really in China. We thought the food was never going to end. There were so many varieties to choose from.

    Today we are looking forward to visiting The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. We can't wait to see what lies ahead in our ABD.
     
  7. Traveling Tinkerbell

    Traveling Tinkerbell Mouseketeer

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    Days 3 and 4

    We had a 10 minute bus ride to the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Daisy and Dusty offered us snacks and water on the coach. Once we got there, it took us 4 hours to walk from one end to the other. Daisy said it is the size of 16 soccer fields! I'm glad it wasn't a holiday/weekend because we can't imagine any more people than the thousands that were there. We than had a traditional Chinese lunch with a view of a wonderful lake. The food was amazing and just kept on coming! After lunch we had 3 hours to ourselves. Most people relaxed or went swimming but we headed to Pearl Market. My younger DD loved bargaining with the workers while my older DD bought all of the purses. We met an hour before dinner with 3 locals that helped us create kites, masks, and learn calligraphy. Our dinner was excellent! After we watched an amazing performance by 4 acrobats.

    The next day we got on the coach at 8 a.m. to drive two hours to the great wall. Since Daisy is from Beijing, she entertained us with many historial stories and cultural information. Climbing the wall was even more exciting than we imagined. It was difficult, yes, but well worth it. In 2 1/2 hours, we rode a gondola and walked the wall. The spot Disney took us was very nice. Barely anyone was there. We were given 20 minutes to bargain and haggle on the way down with the 100's of vendors. Lunch was at an old school house. It was delicious (mostly American food!!!). After, we were showed a demonstration of noodle making and glass figurines. Amazing art! We ended our day by driving to the Olympic area. It was absolutely wonderful seeing the "Bird's nest" (Olympic Stadium) and the different arenas. We drove back to the hotel and had the rest of the day to ourselves. Most people went to the opera but we walked around Wangfujing. It was nice being able to explore on our own a little. :)
     
  8. redzinner

    redzinner Me Wants the Medianoche!

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    Thank you for posting. It sounds like you are having a great time even though it is a full schedule. I would have loved to hear your younger DD haggle with the vendors!
     
  9. isyt

    isyt DIS Veteran

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    I am waiting to all the details!! Have a great time !!!
     
  10. awatt

    awatt <font color=CC66CC>My pontoon boat is like a float

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    from the Watt family.

    He is the most wonderful guide and you arre lucky to have him! We are leaving for Emerald Isle next week, and I'm afraid it won't be the same without him.
     
  11. Traveling Tinkerbell

    Traveling Tinkerbell Mouseketeer

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    Day 4
    We left the hotel at 8:30 a.m. to go to the Temple of Heaven. The Epcot China building is an exact replica of this Temple and so beautiful. The large park around the Temple was full of retired Chinese people dancing, playing games, singing, etc. We just joined in on anything we wanted. After exploring this large Temple, we mastered the art of Tai Chi! Then we went to the wall of echos which was totally neat. After, we walked around some more and made our way to the coach. We then drove to lunch. It was at Noble House. Like the others, it was family style. After lunch we got to ride the Pedi cab through the Hutong while stopping by two homes and learning to yo-yo, knot-tying, and decorative paper-cutting. So fun! Dinner was special Peking Duck with lots of treats. This was the first REALLY hot day but we haven't seen the sun because of all the pollution.

    Day 5
    We left the hotel about 8:30 a.m. for the hour drive to the Zoo. It has 14 pandas - 8 rescued from Chengdu after the earthquake. The 8 will be shown at the Olympics and then sent back to Chengdu. We had lunch and then free time so we went to the Silk Market. My younger DD loves it. She starts at 20% of the asking price and then will only go up to 30% before we walk away. Very nice dinner at Jing (where we eat breakfast every morning) - western and Chinese food - before going to a Kung Fu show.

    Day 6
    Suitcases had to be outside the door by 5:45 a.m. and the bus left at 7 a.m. to get to the airport for our 3 hour flight to Guilin. We flew Hainan Airlines. Lunch was at the Sheraton before our hour drive to the country to check into the Modern Art Hotel. We had time to bike around or walk around the park near the hotel. It was amazing seeing all the different art pieces. There is no pollution here and so far no rain. And the cruise down the river will be tomorrow as well as painting!
     
  12. Traveling Tinkerbell

    Traveling Tinkerbell Mouseketeer

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    Day 7
    We started the day by going to the largest art studio. We were able to paint little pigs! The kids really loved it. Then we picked up our box lunches that we pre-ordered to take to the river. Disney took us to the most beautiful part of the Li River for our 2-3 hour cruise. Luckily it was not raining while we were there! Then we stopped at the city of Yangzhou. Disney had a very special surprise, (we will keep it a secret) that kept everyone on their toes! We were given 2 hours to shop in the beautiful streets. Dinner was a wonderful BBQ by the lake at the Home of Modern Art Hotel. We were so lucky with no rain the entire time in Guilin! It was very relaxing and we very much enjoyed this area. After dinner we started to pack again for our flight to Shanghai tomorrow.

    Day 8
    Bags had to be out by 7:45 a.m. and the bus left at 9 a.m. for the 1 1/2 hour drive back to the airport. We flew China Southern for our flight to Shanghai. Once at the airport we were met by our local guide, Florence or "Flow". We then drove 30 minutes to get to the Hilton Hotel. We had 2 hours to ourselves to do whatever we like. At 5:30 p.m. we had to be down in the lobby for our dinner on the Bund. This was the night we got to dress up a little. Dinner was at the M on the Bund. It was unbelievable. We had a great view of the river and the bund. After dinner we got a choice of walking around on the bund or taking the coach back to the hotel. Most of the group walked around the Bund and got a cheap taxi back to the hotel. Overall the day was very interesting!
     
  13. Kareau

    Kareau Earning My Ears

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    I’m so glad to hear that you are having a wonderful time. It sounds like you have had plenty of time to shop. Have you been able to pick up any interesting souvineers?
     
  14. Traveling Tinkerbell

    Traveling Tinkerbell Mouseketeer

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    The shopping in China has been pure amazment. My oldest DD, Lisa, has gone crazy. In Beijing, we were able to go to Pearl Market (knock-off designer items) and Silk Market (a bigger variety of Knock-offs. This one was much better, but harder to bargin with) They were both bargain markets. Daisy told us to bargain 10% of the original asking price, and go up to 20% at the highest. Then walk away. Almost every seller will chase you down begging you to buy it.. at your price. It works like a charm. :) We were also able to get some great finds at the Olympic stores. These are all over the place in Beijing, but very scarce in other towns, so buy them there. When we went to Guilin, we were allowed two hours in a small market by the river. This was when we got 50% of our suvinours. They had everything. We got pillow cases, chinese placemats, a tradiotion chinese farmer hat, a couple of knock-off items, a good luck cat, ... they have everything. Now, in Shanghai, we have found the H&M and the C&A, my daughters two favorite stores. They aren't too far, just a taxi ride away, and that whole avenue is great for teen or young teen shopping. There is a mall close to the hotel, but its all high-end designers and our guides told us not to go there. Suvineers are everywhere though, so you really shouldn't worry. But, I will say, to BRING AN EXTRA SUITCASE. Let me repeat: BRING AN EXTRA SUITCASE. It is much needed after all of this shopping that everyone is doing. :)

    Any other questions, please ask.
     
  15. RutgersAlum

    RutgersAlum Mouseketeer

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    TravellingTink, I enjoyed your travelogue immensely, I just found it!

    We are thinking of taking the kids to Asia next year, crazy idea, and I fell in love with the ABD tour (but not with the price:lmao: ), so I really enjoyed your report!

    Glad you had such a neat trip!
    RutgersAlum
     
  16. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    The report has been great--very accurate (we know, because we were on this trip!). We are reliving this great trip through your detailed report, and hope you bring it to the conclusion (Hong Kong Disneyland, of course).
     
  17. Traveling Tinkerbell

    Traveling Tinkerbell Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for posting WeLoveABD. It has inspired us to write more—

    Day 9
    We left the hotel at 8:45am for a short ride to Fuxin Park where we met up with 2 instructors to demonstrate fan dancing and knife dancing art. We all got to participate & everyone enjoyed this. The fan dancing was much harder with the graceful steps needed to complete the dance. Then we drove to the Yu Gardens. This was full of temples, pavilion , bridges and ponds, (lots of haggling too). This was the most crowded market in China (only because the beggars were on top of you every where you went- ah!). Lunch was a short drive away served on the 54th floor of the Jin Mao Tower that had a great view of Shanghai. Later we drove to the Children’s Palace and had a wonderful reception by the kindergarten class. Their songs were so cute! (This was my older dd’s favorite part of the entire trip!!). We were on our own for dinner so we shopped a bit and then had room service for dinner. We couldn’t eat much though since ABD feeds us like we haven’t ever seen food before!! :)

    Day 10: Shanghai A La Carte
    Most of this day was free time. Our guides gave us lots of good ideas on how to spend our day in the city. We decided to see the Jade Buddha Temple first. It had 3 of the biggest Buddha’s we had ever seen. Lots of people were burning incense and praying. After many pictures we rode a taxi to the fashion market. It was not near as exciting as the markets in Beijing so we walked along the Nanjing Road. The girls found a Pizzs Hut for lunch (what a difference from all the Chinese food!!!) and then we walked to see the Shanghai Museum. Unfortunately, the line was way too long so we just went in the museum shop before going back to the hotel. Some of the group went to the Science and Technology Museum and I wish we had spent some time there. We packed up before going to an early dinner- Dim Sum- and then to a Chinese acrobatic show. We even got to meet up with some of the performers after! (It was a special treat Disney set up using their famous pixie dust.)

    Day 11 Disneyland or Bust!
    This day started very early- we had to have our bags out by 5:15am and leave by 6am!!! We were bussed about 30 minutes to ride the high-speed Maglev Train for a 7 minute ride to the airport. It was cool riding 301 km/hr. Our flight to Hong Kong was one hr late leaving because of bad weather in HK. We have been so lucky with suck good weather we sure couldn’t complain. Our guides said we had the best weather of any group! Yay! :yay: After landing, it was a short bus ride to the HK Disneyland hotel, but everyone was so antsy to get there that it felt like forever. When we pulled up we were met by a parade of Disney Cast members lined up from the bus to the front of the hotel waving Mickey hands to us!! We were taken into a conference room and greeted by the VP of Disneyland HK and Jasmine, Ambassador of HK Disneyland. What an honour it was to meet them. We had a short and small lunch in there while our guided handed out room keys, park passes, and explained how things would work. Once they let us go we all burst out the doors ready to explore Disneyland HK. Most of us got to the park around 3pm that day. As everyone says, the park is VERY small. It was sprinkling so the new parade was canceled :sad1: . It’s a Small World was very pretty (also the newest one built), the Lion King costumes were gorgeous (better than the ones in WDW) and there were no lines at Space Mountain (which was amazing)! Our family was lucky to ride SM with our guide, Daisy. She loved it but she was screaming, no doubt, the entire time! :woohoo: Around 8pm the fireworks went off to end the day. They were great, and we are so thankful that we had special seats to view them; practically the entire tour group was there watching them. It was a perfect way to end the day.
     
  18. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    I agree, Disneyland HK is small (like a minature Disneyland CA, our stomping ground)--but what a beautiful setting! The mountains behind the castle were magical--and the landscaping in the park was lush (the line to the Autopia--probably the longest and slowest in the park--was so green and well designed I took a photo of that for the scrapbook). But it is a park pretty do-able in a day, especially with VIP passes and fasttrack tickets you get from ABD. The HK tour the next day was great--I'll leave that to the well-detailed writings above and hopefully below this!--but I went back to HK Disneyland just walk the grounds and take it all in. Our two (David and Ashley) enjoyed the park, but I couldn't get them to go with me for a second look--the pool at the beautiful Disneyland Hotel (with water slide) was a bigger attraction. I'm glad we went when we did--the weather worked out well, and my impressions of China (now based on reality) changed dramatically--for the better. I came away with a sense of hope for the world, and less "us vs them" mentality. To ABD: well done!
     
  19. Traveling Tinkerbell

    Traveling Tinkerbell Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for your input, WeLoveABD! :) It’s really great to hear someone else’s perspective of the trip.

    Day 12 Hong Kong Top To Bottom
    The day started with a Character Breakfast and then we boarded the bus for a ride around HK. Unfortunately, it rained most of the time, traffic was bad & the views were limited. We stopped at the Stanley Market for last minute souvenirs, our family ended up buying an extra suitcase! After about two hours at the market, we went to the top of Victoria Peak around 1pm. Soon the rain stopped so we got a stunning view of HK (I wish we had seen it at night too!) We rode a tram down the hill (that was unbelievable, we were almost going straight down, 90 degrees) and then took the Star Ferry (a 2 minute ride) across the harbor to Kowloon. We got back to the hotel around 4pm and given 3 hours on our own. My DH and older DD, Lisa, ran to the park again but my younger DD, Amy, crashed. Our farewell dinner was at 7pm at the hotel and we were met by Mulan. It was hard to believe this wonderful trip was over. :( This was our first ABD trip but most definitely not our last! Our family had a blast! Our guides were the best and it may be hard to replace Daisy and Dusty. We enjoyed the people in our group and would love to travel with them again. Can’t wait to see what will be offered next year!!

    WeLoveABD- It was a delight being with your family for the two weeks in China. Your company was very much appreciated. We can’t wait to hear all about your next ABD trip to London & Paris! What do you plan to do after that!?
     
  20. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    Great to see your report--we are printing the whole thing for our scrapbook! Yup--we are now turning our sights to our third ABD trip (London/Paris), which will seem short compared to the two week trip to China! We are adding on two days to see Disneyland Paris, although from reports I have seen we may have extra time--maybe we'll take the train that stops at the park and hit something else in France for a day. We are going to wait and see--weather, crowds, what the park offers etc. As for a trip after that--we are obviously hooked on Disney trips, as they do it all to perfection. We are going to be checking the official site starting Aug 1 for the new trips--and checking this site for rumors! How about you guys?
     
  21. Traveling Tinkerbell

    Traveling Tinkerbell Mouseketeer

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    TO: WeLoveABD

    That trip sounds wonderful (London/Paris). We have not been to Disneyland Paris yet. We are waiting for the 2009 list as well but our wish list of adventures are South Africa, Costa Rica, and Ireland. Have a wonderful time
    in London/Paris!!!! :)
     

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